While so many Republicans rush toward self-martyrdom, one, Ralph Reed, is headed in the other direction – toward resurrection. We’ve been tracking Reed here, and have looked already at his bizarre claims that dominionism is a conspiracy theory, and that the evangelical vote is a myth. It has been repeatedly proven that any Republican who wishes to get ahead must make outrageous (read that as egregiously false) claims and Reed is no different.
After helping to establish Evangelical dominance of the Republican Party and indeed, of America’s political process, his apogee being Time Magazine’s 1995 “Right Hand of God,” his star eclipsed due to his own actions, resigning in the Christian Coalition in 1997. After a brief period of being nearly invisible (Time Magazine wrote Ralph Reed’s political epitaph, July 23, 2006), he reappeared, seeking chairmanship of the Georgia Republican Party in 2001, in 2006 running for Georgia’s lieutenant governor, and working on the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004. He started the Faith and Freedom Coalition in June 2009 and since then he has managed to keep himself in the spotlight.
Resurrection has become a reality in 2012, with Right Wing Watch reporting that “GOP Presidentials Line Up to Kiss Ralph Reed’s…Ring.” Right Wing Watch tells us that in South Carolina “Romney, Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry all paraded before a gathering convened by Ralph Reed’s “Faith and Freedom Coalition” just hours before the latest debate.”
“We are here today because we say unapologetically and unequivocally that there cannot be true freedom without faith in almighty God,” announced the disgraced-and-rebounding Reed, who led the Christian Coalition to prominence in the 1990s and launched the Faith & Freedom coalition in 2009 as a voter turnout machine for conservative evangelicals. He claims that he is going to register 2 million new voters on his way to compiling a database of 27 million voters who will be contacted over and over up and through Election Day. “If you thought we turned out in 2010, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” he warned Democratic leaders. Reed said “in 2012 we’re going to stand up and be counted and we’re going to say that people with faith in God aren’t what’s wrong with America, they’re what’s right with America and we need more of them engaged and more of them involved.”
It’s been said so often that we barely notice it anymore, this claim that “true freedom” exists only in stripping everyone of their freedom and forcing them to worship Reed’s god. I’ve said before that it’s a strange species of freedom that requires slavery to come to fruition. But this is evidently the fundamentalist meme and they’re sticking to it down to the last man (and Bachmann espoused it as well before dropping out). The 2012 election is at its heart a war on secularism, whether it is expressed through our foreign policy (look at Israel’s privileged position in Republican political theology), or by way of attacks on marriage equality or women’s reproductive rights or contraception and sex education. Even the economy is not immune, as we have seen from what Right Wing Watch calls Ron Paul’s biblical economics:
“The Bible says we’re supposed to have honest currency and we’re not supposed to print the money.”
On no front is America safe from biblical based assaults on our liberties – nor, obviously, are other countries. A replay of the Bushian crusade against Iraq is the least we can look forward to in a Republican-led post 2012 world.
And Ralph Reed like a spider in his web will be at the heart of it, playing kingmaker once again, just as he aspired to do in 1994 and 2004. With the Evangelical vote being more important than ever – since this is the only group the GOP is actively courting, having excluded everyone else from consideration – Reed stands to make another run as “the right hand of God” in 2012. Reed has a proven track record as an organizer, albeit a dishonest one, but dishonesty is demonstrably not a disadvantage for a Republican candidate this year. In all respects, he seems to be the right man in the right place at the right time (or the wrong one, depending on your perspective).
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.